In 2004 we discussed the Piraha, a tribe in the Amazon, when a study appeared characterizing their language as a "one, two, many" language. Now reader mu22le informs us of a new study of the Piraha pointing to the possibility that they use no number words at all. Instead they seem to use the word formerly thought to mean "two" to represent a quantity of 5 or 6, and the "one" word for anything from 1 to 4. The language has about 300 native speakers. "The study... offers evidence that number words are a concept invented by human cultures as they are needed, and not an inherent part of language, Gibson said."
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